Category: Table Tennis Coaching

Sammy Kaye answered honestly about how it is being a full-time table tennis coach…

What does it take to become a true leader and create true team culture?
Credit: eBaTT

Sammy Kaye, shares his insights (professional table tennis coach), how it’s possible to make a living from the sport and what to expect…

Do we create systems in our lives or are we stuck inside one? I believe it’s a bit of both but we have a choice to make one greater than the other. The problem many face is direction, and I’m no different, having felt directionless and having no idea in the world what to do.

We’ve all been there to one extent or another, desperately scrolling through the Times Top 100 Employers or through the endless Linked-in/Indeed maze.

Well…that was me a year ago!!!

This time last year I was a 21-year-old graduate and truthfully, I was a little bit lost.
Luckily Table Tennis gave me a strong anchor and guided me to where I am today…

Many don’t believe or think it’s possible but I am on a pathway that makes me happy, healthy and prosperous, via table tennis. Today aged 23 I’m a full-time table tennis coach, based in London England.

What makes a good coach?
Legendary Jiu Jitsu Coach- John Danaher and Legendary TT Coach Liu Guoliang
Credit: LondonReal
Credit: Wiki,  Pierre-Yves Beaudouin/ WikipediaCommons

Table Tennis Journey

If you are reading this, then it means we share the same passion through Table Tennis which gives us all joy, meaning and purpose. The excitement that we all feel before practice and matches keeps us playing for years and for many it’s a life long relationship.

I have been playing for 10 years now and through the sport I’ve had so many amazing experiences; playing in school, university, local and national tournaments and I’ve even been lucky enough to play in international tournaments in several countries. I believe that table tennis is a life long journey for me and I’m very excited to see what adventures lay ahead.

Due to several experiences and good fortune I have made the first few steps in building a career in coaching a sport that I love. Going to work every day gives me genuine excitement, joy, meaning and purpose.

Opportunity Calls!

We are all young once.

Young people have so much energy, passion and want to give and learn…

However, we rarely know where to start.

Many of us feel overwhelmed by the immense social pressure to achieve academic success and then feeling lost after our university studies, with a degree in our pocket (not to mention a student loan on our shoulders!)

I was no different. Did all the right things at school, achieved good grades, went to a good university and got a respectable degree. But, at the end, (after passing my test, I didn’t know where to drive to?!) I felt lost, unassured and to be honest, quite down.

We must keep our eyes and minds open

Out of the blue I received a text message from Roger Close, a dad of one of my university friends Anthony.

Do I want to do some coaching at a Table Tennis Club? (he volunteers at).

Hmnn, an empty summer with not much to do, ABSOLUTELY I DO!

I was excited but also very nervous. I had not played for a long time due to covid and studying.

The kids at the club who know me now may not believe me when I say this, but, I was extremely nervous. The session I helped in seemed to go down okay as a week later I was called by the head coach of the club, Zoltan Hosszu. ‘Sammy I heard you did a bit of coaching at the club, do you want to help me out at another club of mine?’.

Sure, why not?…

A couple weeks down the line. I begin training again with my personal coach and mentor Eli Baraty.

We had a little catch up after covid-19 and my university absence. I tell him that I have finished university, am taking a year out and that I have been doing a bit of coaching. Eli lights up, ‘Sammy that’s excellent, you should have told me, I can also give you some coaching opportunities if you are up for that.’ I express my interest and thank him.

Follow your gut

Do you ever have that gut feeling that you are heading in the right direction but you can’t explain why?

For whatever reason, spending 50% of my time doing graduate scheme applications and 50% of it on Table Tennis, made me feel like I was making sense of the crazy world and path ahead of me.

Back to School!

My first consistent regular coaching work, was at a school.

Manic, hyper, sometimes disorganised, random, ever-changing. These are some of the ways I would describe coaching in schools.

However, I would also describe it as; uplifting, inspiring, joyful, interesting, rewarding and a privilege.

The Coaching Balance in the School Environment

Over the past year I have probably worked in about 10 different schools so I have had a flavour of different working environments and cultures, and different kids.

Each school has different expectations of you, they have different kids (which often means varying levels of behaviour).

This means I had to become very astute, aware and ready to adapt.

Some of the kids in the programmes are wanting to play to just blow off some steam, others want to genuinely improve and train, and others train outside school and ‘think they know it all’.

So as a coach you have to be able to service all of these kids (and as a result satisfy the school in the process).

Not easy…
But here’s a few tips!

  • You have to be able to, assert yourself, command the attention and respect of the students and run a fun session which ultimately develops the skills of the students.
  • Each week you must keep things fresh and innovative; you have to be on the ball, and you MUST be ready to inspire and motivate.

Listen, understand, and then speak!

1-1 Private Coaching.

  • Are you observant?
  • Are you empathetic?
  • Are you adaptable?

These are some key traits that are required for 1-1 private coaching.

The private 1-1 session is like the ultimate litmus test for whether you want to become a table tennis coach in the UK as it will be about 50% of your income.

It tests your technical, observational, emotional and social skills as a coach.

It is an intimate, highly focussed and bespoke service as you are trying to cater for each individual’s unique table tennis requirements.

The key word here is INDIVIDUAL.

I shall elaborate

Your goal generally speaking, is to find ways of elevating your student/client’s game. On face value this may seem simple, but it is actually a much more difficult job than you may think.

Getting better at Table Tennis is not just about stronger forehands and backhands, it’s also about developing all parts of yourself, your mind, your body, your resilience, your character. To make someone a better table tennis player you must develop each part of that.

However, not everyone who wants private coaching is prepared to work on those types of things, so you have to understand the person that you are coaching and what they want to achieve in their game before you start working hard to develop their game.

Some people might be working on their fitness rather than technical ability, some people might just want a sparring session with a quality player/coach who gives them one or two tips along the way. Others may want to achieve high, high goals and you as a coach have to assess what is required for them to achieve it and then advise, manage expectations and provide yourself to them accordingly.

Furthermore, as a coach you must understand that the world is a vast tapestry and people are so different. Not everyone can think like you, look like you, talk like you and play like you.

For real coaching magic to happen, there needs to be a meeting of minds so that you understand and believe in your player and they understand and believe in you. (This also takes time and nurturing).

Learning on the job

Eli Analysing a new service receive that I am struggling to execute.

Eli started coaching me when I was 17. We have both come a long way since then. He understands me and I understand him. This allows us to grow together.
Credit: eBaTT

I have already had the immense privilege to have coached people all of all races, genders, ages and orientations. I have developed my skills by coaching all of them and I have also learnt a hell of a lot about life and people. I have coached some truly incredible human beings who have come from all walks of life. Lawyers, accountants, business people, businessmen/woman, millionaires, parents, ordinary average joes, and some truly fantastic kids.

I am indebted to them, as I have learnt so much from them all.

Credit: Peregrine Global Services

Administrate or Drown!

As a coach, you must possess many skills that are unique to you and your profession.

However, when it comes to organisation and business administration, table tennis coaching is very much alike to every other field. It is an essential.

In fact, it might even be more important to coaching than in a more conventional career because as a coach you are often representing yourself and if you mess up there is no one to cover you and you will bear the consequences of your poor organisation.

You must regularly, call, email and contact clients, you must organise your finances, keep notes on your students, you must dot your I’s and cross your T’s when going into new ventures such as managing health and safety, equipment etc.

I have been awake at 2/3am many times trying to keep everything organised and in order.

Mentoring and Growth

What do you want from life and do you want success?…

Then you must be prepared to eat humble pie, learn from people who know more than you…

The last year has possibly been the most significant growth period in my life.

I have the privilege of being mentored by a world class professional in their industry who also happens be a great person who cares about me and my growth.

Lessons learnt, are endless…

Initially my coaching began with small pockets of work for eBaTT. This includes; some schools, group coaching , 121’s alongside work for other clubs too. Eli must have seen something in me and offered me a 6 month part-time contract with a view to potentially renew.

This was exciting but of course, naturally I felt nervous.

Therefore I took my time in reflection of the opportunity and to think about what I wanted before accepting a new pathway.

I did not want to commit to something that I was unprepared to see through. I think it is respectful to take your time on job offers, but don’t take too long!

I took a few days and wrote some of my thoughts and questions down…

Eventually I decided that I wanted to take it, naturally I had questions and queries which Eli answered.

Experience over money

Before I accepted the contract, I had been doing coaching work for a few clubs across London and was getting paid a little more per hour than what I was initially being offered on the contract by eBaTT.

So naturally I asked for more than what I was offered on the contract.

Eli, then explained to me that looking simply at money is an extremely narrow view on our 6-month Contract. He explained to me that what the contract is really about is about growing, learning and experience, plus much more. He said that what I will learn with him on this programme will be much more valuable to me than being paid a little more money. I may be getting less on paper but embedded in the whole package has far greater value to me as an individual than a slightly higher wage.

He explained his reasoning from his perspective and his business’ perspective. The business has costs to bear (administration, liability risk etc). But also made it clear to me that a key piece of value that Eli would be giving me is his time. In Eli’s words, he would will be on call at any time (often at early morning hours if need be) to mentor and grow me as a coach, employee and human being.

Moreover, Eli noted his resume which as his student I am well aware of and thought, this guy is definitely the best in the business, if I am going to do proper table tennis work experience why would I do it with anyone else?

I thought about it, I wanted to work as a coach and it was only for 6 months, if I didn’t like it or wanted to change, I didn’t have to do it forever. Not much to lose and everything to enjoy and gain from…

I accepted.

Eli, asked me to do some experience with him during his 1-1 sessions before starting official in January.

I shadowed him in some sessions and took over a few… I WAS BLOWN AWAY!

I learnt and insane amount in such a short space of time. I was being taught so many secrets of coaching as well as general life and business lessons such as communication, people skills, body language and so much more.

I immediately understood Eli’s perspective when we discussed our contract.

Fast forward to the present…I can honestly say that Eli has kept to his word. He has put so much time into mentoring me, secondly, I have grown a tremendous amount as a result and thirdly, I truly see the embedded value that was promised in our original agreement. I have learnt that there are some (many) things when it comes to work which are much more valuable than money.

A quote from Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. ‘The poor work for money, whilst the rich work for experience.’ I can honestly say that I have had a very rich experience so far.

To this day I receive constant mentoring and advice on coaching, communication, business and table tennis knowledge.

Time and experience, from before I properly started coaching to where I am now, I genuinely believe that I’m positively unrecognisable- as a coach and as a person.

The love of coaching hooked me, so much so that I turned down a graduate scheme offer in order to pursue a new-found passion and now career.

Out the door in a heartbeat!

Loving something is unfortunately not enough, if you want it to thrive and grow!

You must be prepared to put the work in to get it to grow.

As a table tennis coach, I believe it is my duty to be ready to grow myself and the sport.

That means when opportunities come, I grasp them with a firm hand. This year I have been called up many times at the last minute by Eli…‘Sammy, do you want to do this?’, ‘Sammy I need someone to help me with this…’ ‘Sammy I have a wonderful opportunity for you’. 80-90% of the time I have said yes and learnt so much from each experience.

A particularly memorable experience. I got a call at 9am on my day off (a very early time for me on my day off AHAHA!).

Eli: ‘Sammy, what are you doing today…?’

Half asleep… I say: ‘errrrr…I’m seeing my girlfriend’

Eli: ‘I have a really exciting corporate event that I just got told about this morning at 7:30am, are you up for it?’ ‘

Me: ‘Yeah, but I need to ask ‘the girlfriend’’, (luckily she was relaxed about it. I treated her to a nice dinner afterwards) I called Eli back ‘Alright, I’m down let’s do it’.

Later in the day, we hauled a table into a van, drove into central London, parked outside the offices and wheeled the table into the premises and up into the lift and set it up in the middle of the company offices.

We put on a wonderful table tennis clinic involving an exhibition, coaching and match play. The Employees began to swarm in wanting to be a part of the tremendous vibe that we had created. It was fantastic.

It was such a mind-blowing experience for me. It reinforced the fact that we can literally take table tennis anywhere and everywhere. Our sport can really do great things and we can really elevate it.

With imagination, determination and partnership we can achieve great things…

eBaTT Entertainment Event
Credit eBaTT

Closing thoughts and Thanks

Firstly, it is my humble opinion that the world would be a better place with more table tennis coaches in it. However, it is a very difficult pursuit and in a way is analogous to starting a business…

Many coaches are on their own and are developing their skills, finding their USP, selling themselves, trying to manage all their administration, costs, personal issues all with knowledge that their will be no guarantee of success.

However, when are there ever any guarantees in life?

It is difficult, but, it is possible, there are several full-time coaches in England and of course it would be great to have more. I aim to become a worthy addition to the small network of coaches in the country and will continue to grow myself as a coach alongside the whole community.

I love competition, and see so many positives from it, therefore my aim is to work as hard and smart as possible to become the best.

I have been extremely fortunate in my coaching journey so far. You could say that I have been at the right place at the right time.

Moreover, I work for eBaTT who provide me constant support and mentoring and give me so many opportunities. I am now giving my full-time energy and focus to growing eBaTT and enacting our vision across the UK.

The eBaTT Centre is now open and we are working non-stop to make it a success and to transform table tennis across the UK.

I want to say thanks to eBaTT for providing me with such a wonderful opportunity. I also want to say thanks to Roger Close and Zoltan Hosszu who reached out to me out of the blue and helped kick start my coaching journey.

I have many more thoughts about the sport and coaching that I wish to convey in the coming months and years.

Stay tuned….

Michael Gerrard, My Inspiration

Every so often I’m asked who’s your inspiration/role-model/mentor?

I always answer, I try to learn from everyone but if I was to pick one.

It would be Michael Gerrard,

He inspired me to be the best version of me and a man that has given me pure hope and belief in myself. Most importantly, recently he has shown me that anything can be achieved.

But first a quick story…

17 years ago Michael walked into my club (back then Barnet TTC), asking for some table tennis coaching.

He wanted a private session (1-2hrs per day) 4 times a week. At first I thought great I’m cashing in (not in a selfish way but in a way of, this is helping me) and then I wondered why is a 47 year old man having so much coaching?

Michael had played a little as a kid at Barnet and decided to come back into the game after 20 odd years out. But this time he had a purpose, a special tournament! A charity event held at Lords Cricket ground (London).

Entry fee: £10,000
Rules: must never have had a ranking or played league table tennis

Michael set his mind that he would win this event and donate all the winnings to a (Cancer charity) in memory of his former business partner, who passed away from the disease.

Michael’s level back then I would say bottom division local league (depending on the league of course).

I had no idea about his potential opposition but the aim was to give him the best possible chance of winning.

The key focus was to elevate Michael’s strength (forehand), develop a block and a spinny serve. After a few months all of the above had upscaled and it was show time.


A lot of extremely influential people had entered including Michael Sherwood (CEO Goldman Sachs), Philip Green (owner of Topshop) turned up to watch, Ray Kelvin (owner of Ted Baker) and a few other hot shots…


I looked at each player knocking and made notes, I formulated a strategy against all possible opposition. Michael was focused and determined in taking this event, and put all his trust in me (his coach).

Match time

First match Michael cruised through, eyes turned on him plus Michael Sherwood for the title. In the semi’s Michael faced Mr Ted Baker and was routed on by Philip Greene who was worth £9 Billion at the time. Ray was able to hold his own in the rallies but struggled to return Michael’s spinny serves. I have another story that followed on from that match, involving Philip Greene (but I’ll leave that for another day).

In the final Michael was in the zone and overwhelmed Mr Sherwood to take the title.

My treat:

Michael paid for my Nobu meal and gave me a kind donation to my table tennis centre to say thank you. Yet that was nothing because that day created a life long bond between us.

As the years passed, Michael was always there when I needed a friend with a big wallet but bigger heart. He always picks up the phone to have a chat but never answers any text messages 😜.


I saw Michael as a father figure, a man that had build a small empire yet is the most humble guy. He treats everyone the same and cares for people’s well being.

I was down a few times over the years and Michael always provided me with his wisdom. He encouraged me to keep driving forward and to always keep the light lit no matter how dark or dim it may be…

Most importantly Michael believed in me and kept having his coaching sessions every week.

He joined the local league Barnet plus Harrow & Wembley where he began at the the bottom moved up to the top division over the years.

Success, beyond belief:

In the past few weeks just gone, Michael beat two players whom I would never have dreamt possible, considering his level when I first met him and the age he took up table tennis seriously.

The players are top local and national league players;
Darius Zurwaski and the legendary Costas Papantoniou. When I received a message showing me the score card, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

How has a man who’s level was so low and began playing seriously aged 47 moved into the top division local league and beaten some of the best players in the country, (Both players had played Premier British league).

Veteran scene here we come
Michael is 64 now and we are both aiming to hit the world veteran scene. I’ve learnt that age is just a number and that the table tennis ball doesn’t know your age. I’ve also learnt to believe in the impossible because of Michael, who is Mr Impossible…

And that’s why Michael is my inspiration!

Stevie Brunskill’s Kind Words Of Recognition

I have won 1 award in my 21 years of coaching and that brought me to tears!
Because I felt respected and recognised. I think it’s something we all want! Whether it be by one or one hundred people (that’s irrelevant), the relevance is making an impact and then for it to be recognised.
Today opening FB and reading a mini blog by Stevie Brunskill, felt like I had won my second award.

As a professional table tennis coach with over 40 years in the game, you could say that I have met, played, coached, and worked with some wonderful people. I have decided to write and pay tribute to some memorable people that have inspired and helped shape me as a person.

Everyone that knows me, knows I do everything from the heart and give without ever thinking I want something in return. So when I get a small complement or something written or said to me or about me in a positive way. It truly fills my heart and makes me want to give more. 

Mr TT – Eli Baraty

Eli Baraty must be one of the most well-known names in table tennis. His self-promotion and his promotion of table tennis is probably of the highest in quantity and quality.

Some people might knock him for this, but actually who else is promoting table tennis like he is?
I don’t think anybody is. Not just in this country but I think it would be hard to find anybody in the world who relentlessly pushes table tennis to the mass market like he does. He constantly preaches about how great table tennis is. Eli really does live, breathe and sleep table tennis. Eli is very professional in his attitude and manner. I think his video presentations are possibly some of the best produced on the internet.

Eli and I have worked on several camps together. Eli’s coaching style is very professional, and he is always looking to develop and be creative with his delivery, often thinking outside the box, never shy to try new ideas and create new methods of training. Over the years Eli and I have become great friends.

Eli is a really nice guy who is easy to get along with, easy to work with and has brought many top coaches together with his coaching collaborations. Eli always gives great tips and advice to develop players and coaches. His presentation skills and promotion of the sport are second to none.

Although Eli is big on self-promotion, he never puts others down, in fact he is usually one of the first to praise and promote others. He is always offering to help and support others for the greater good of the game.

Another side to Eli that I admire is he is always looking to self-develop, always wanting to learn more and expand what he does, he never sits still. If someone is doing something and he is not, pretty soon he will be doing it and trying to develop it further if he feels it’s of value.

Again those that know me, know I don’t like to talk about what I do or can do but actually do it. Which means I must keep delivering, thank you so much for the love 💕🏓

Eli is very respectful and a true family man with strong traditional values and will always take a stand for what he believes in and stands by what he feels is right and wrong. He works tirelessly to help the game of table tennis improve, grow, and develop. It actually hurts him to see his beloved sport falter and fail and if he sees this, he is quick to say, not in a bid to drag the sport down, but to hopefully point out weaknesses and give suggestions of how he feels it could be improved, such is his passion for the sport.

Eli has a great zest for life, not just for creating good table tennis players or great clubs but also a general zest for life, if ever you ask how he is doing? Eli’s reply is nearly always “amazing” or “fantastic” He really does have this mindset of life is wonderful and probably sometimes it isn’t for him, but Eli is not going to bend to this. His mindfulness is so strong that he will continue until life actually becomes good. He tries to improve every aspect of his life which is something I admire.

He takes his table tennis work ethic and attitude into every aspect of his life. I think that’s what table tennis has given him, that’s what I feel table tennis has given me and I see this in Eli. Eli pushes this ethos of self-belief into the people he meets, helping others to develop many aspects of their lives by removing the restrictions and verbal barriers which other negative people may put in front of them. Eli himself dreams big and wants others to achieve their dreams also.
Eli is an extremely motivated guy who is so passionate and in love with the game, and what I think sets Eli apart is that his passion and love of the game is at every level, he loves the game no matter what, whether it’s played at home for pleasure, played for leisure or top elite, for Eli it doesn’t matter, as long as there is a bat in someone’s hand that’s what Eli wants to see. He would want for the sport of table tennis to be the biggest sport in the world and especially in this country more than anybody I know.

Many years ago, I remember someone saying, “table tennis will never be a popular sport until people in table tennis are willing to walk around town with tee shirts saying I love table tennis and not be embarrassed to say they are a part of the sport”. Until this happens table tennis will never grow. People within table tennis need to wear the tee shirt and be proud to be part of this wonderful sport.

Eli wears the tee shirt, and he wears it with pride.

Unfortunately for the sport of table tennis there is only one Eli Baraty.

As I always say, “if you have a dream, wake up and make it happen”

Behind every player, is a great coach

“Behind every player, is a great coach” I couldn’t have said any better!

Watching, talking and seeing these two Andreja Ojstersek Urh and Darko Jorgić over the past few years. Has given me hope, inspiration and even more love for our sport.

I first met Andreja, at the Olympic Qualification in Portugal and she made my eyes water. Telling me the back story of what she and her husband sacrificed for Jorgic and other TT players in Slovenia.

A coach that cares is a true coach and one that comes around rarely…

How Important is Multi-Ball in Table Tennis?

I believe Multi-ball in table tennis began in the ’70s in China and today, it’s rare to see advanced coaching sessions without it. 

Why is Multi-ball Important

In very simple terms, you amplify the quantity of training by 100x and naturally, this enables you to increase your skills at a faster rate. You can do almost any drill using multi-ball and it’s also very real if done correctly. Lastly multi-ball, can help with footwork, timing and develop good technique.


Key developments of multi-ball:

  • Footwork
  • Speed
  • Recovery
  • Timing
  • Technique 
  • High Quantity – Repetition 

Thinking Multi-Ball

Filip Szymanski

Issues with Multi-Ball

Today, if you browse social media or Youtube, you will find many videos of players and coaches using multi-ball. The question you must ask yourself, they look great while in action but are the benefits real or is it often just a show? I always tell my players, a car can look amazing from the outside but if the engine is poor the looks mean nothing. What do I mean by this statement? Well, often when you watch players being fed multi-ball they are given a set routine and they blast each ball effortlessly. The issue is often players and coaches use multi-ball to just hit some backhands and forehands but in a match situation, this is something that would never happen. So why do we give set multi-ball drills? Well, it can be because we want to work on our technique, footwork or just confidence. 

I suggest limiting structured multi-ball (one to four boxes) after that look at implementing unstructured routines. Use thought process exercises and irregular formats to truly develop your game.

There are no set routines

I’m a great believer in technique but what is the technique? It’s a foundation which must be built at an early stage, dependant upon a player’s natural gifts. Such as; playing hand, speed, height, weight, coordination, thought process, (physical and mental ability). Once you are fully aware of one’s natural gifts, then you can start to build certain techniques that compliment that person. For example someone with slow reaction speed, you may want to implement a chopping foundation away from the table. This gives them more time to react and potentially develop their reaction speed over time and move into the table over time if they wish to do so. The technique is all about efficiency, how can you play the best possible shot/stroke at a given moment.

Eli Baraty & Jan Ove Waldner
Master of variation

Build a foundation for your player and then be willing to adapt technically as they evolve. Therefore I suggest spending a few years using multi-ball to build your player’s technique by implementing routine exercises. Every player is a different and different amount of time will be required to develop good foundations. once you feel ready then start to break away from routines and build unstructured training routines and exercises. using the foundations built you will need to find ways of implementing your technical foundations, inside an unstructured environment

Time, Quality and Quantity

Only over a long-time period will you reap the rewards, this means you must stick at it and be patient. Lots of smart work is required and time will find a way of making your smart and hard work pay off in the end. I’ve been in the game for 25 years and my time alongside smart and hard work is only just now, truly paying off. without commitment, I don’t think anything special is possible

Quantity is nothing without quality

Develop Your Table Tennis Belief

I know it’s easy to say, table tennis belief can be developed.

Before We Believe:


I think the biggest issue we all have is hearing, listening and doing what others do. I don’t like this saying but it’s so true “most are sheep” which often kills potential. We are the most privileged species on the planet, yet most follow and few create. We have a gift which enables us in more ways than any other thing on the planet.
So why do we let our surroundings dictate us?

One Simple Reason:


Fear of what others think, do and say! Most would live a fake life, their whole lives because they fear what others may think or say.
What a shame, to live under a shadow when you only have one life (that we know of).
The older you get the shorter your time becomes but while you’re still breathing you still have time to make your life yours.

table tennis belief
Develop table tennis belief

Table Tennis Belief:


The game has evolved so much over the past 30 years and we are seeing less and less versatility. I think it’s a shame for players and for the sport. I appreciate that it’s highly unluckily to become a world champion if you only chop, or chop block on your backhand or lob & fish. But only one person becomes a world champion every two years, so why not play the way you want?!
In order to love what you do and enable your skill to truly flourish, you must develop your own style. This means finding what works for you and believe in that pathway.

An insight into achievement via work and belief
An insight into achievement via work and belief

Table Tennis Styles:

If players were given more freedom to explore, experiment and have a personal style I believe we would retain more players. I think many players are boxed via associations, clubs and coaches. The sport requires expression and it’s moving more and more towards a single formula of play.
There is no human on the planet that has the same DNA so why are we teaching all our players a systematic style of play?!
Believe in yourself, express yourself and find what suits you. If you do this, you may not be a winner or seen as “normal” but you are true to yourself. And being true to yourself means you are truly living.
I am very interested in your thoughts and opinions so please leave a comment below


Written Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)                          
Coach Me Table Tennis 

Table Tennis Confidence

As a teenager my table tennis confidence was huge. I believed I could beat anyone and if you beat me I would shake your hand and say “I’ll beat you next time”.

One thing can change everything:


I lost my confidence aged 18 after my coach in France told me I would never achieve my dream of becoming a world champion. My game and self-belief were zapped out of me and for a year I tried to find that spirit and inner table tennis confidence I possessed as a teenager. I had had occasional good results which would re-spark my confidence but it wouldn’t last long. At 19 I put my bat down and felt that would be it for me as a table tennis player.

Psychology book tailor-made for Table Tennis
Psychology book tailor-made for Table Tennis

I was coaching table tennis but I opted out of physical play and rarely held a bat in my hand unless absolutely necessary. Luckily for me staying inside the sport as a coach saw me come back when I was 20 years old. I thought my past coaches words would have left me and I could move on. Yet I found myself constantly up and down in terms of table tennis confidence (Match Play). I was asked to play in the German league I was honoured and thought it may help my confidence but instead, it killed it. I decided to stop playing competitively and only play in my local club and leagues. My main focus in table tennis changed from a player into a coaching career driven towards helping and aiding players who wanted to upscale their games.

Power of words:


At 27 a special man entered into my life Sule Oleleyo former no.1 Nigerian player and 5x African champion. He worked with me at Harefield Academy for 1 year and changed my belief. He literally said the opposite of what my coach said! Sule said you’re so talented you must play. You can’t be a player forever but you can be a coach for life. He went on to say “enjoy playing each time you play, not everyone is privileged to compete at high national or international level”. Those simple words I would say to myself when I came back into competition “enjoy the moment you may never have it again!”

Beginner Bat new to the Game
Beginner Bat new to the Game

Due to confidence


My level of play skyrocketed beating 6 players inside the top 15 and playing at the highest division in British League. I created a team that went on to win the Senior British League and I was apart of that team.
At 30 I was unlucky with health issues and it was effectively my last stint of Peak Performance.
7 years on I was asked to play in the Belgium League and after performing well, my table tennis confidence in match play shot right back up. I trained with a friend this week and a few weeks ago this player pushed me close in some games and even took some games and a match of me. Today I won every game giving my opponent no more than 5 points per game, I felt like I teenager again!

Intermediate - minimum of 6 months of play
Intermediate – minimum of 6 months of play

You’re in charge of Confidence


Three things are required for you to play confidently:
  1. Surround yourself with people who support you and believe in your ability.
  2. Words are powerful but you choose which ones may or may not impact your life. I chose the wrong words initially but eventually, I listened to the right ones. Listen to the ones that make you a better person.
  3. Enjoy, when you play not to lose or only to win, you implement fear and anxiety which does not allow you to perform at peak level. Enjoying the occasion, whether you perform or not every occasion is special as long as you put in 100% effort, the reward will be the experience.
Confidence is your choice don’t let others dictate your capabilities.

*Regardless of your level, you will require good equipment to execute skilled strokes and shots, eBaTT Recommends

Advanced - Local club level, 1 year plus of play
Advanced – Local club level, minimum 1 year of play

I am always interested in your thoughts and views so please leave a comment

Written by Eli Baraty 

eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)                          
Coach Me Table Tennis 

Why Having A Table Tennis Coach Is So Important

Is having a table tennis coach important?

If you go to any sporting club 80% of the time, you will most likely be welcomed into the club by the coach. The coach at the club is there to upscale the players and overall well-being of the club.

But how important is a coach?

This is something I personally believed and believe is the key to elevating one’s ability and overall success. Growing up, I watched films like “The Mighty Ducks” “Cool Running’s” “Rocky” and Coach Carter was the man that inspired me once I became a table tennis coach.
The film and biography made me realise a good or great coach can help and guide one or a team towards their dreams and vision.
Every sport I look at and study I notice a re-occurring theme. A coach has developed and guided the success of a club or personal athlete!

Why is a coach so important?

table tennis coaches

Experience: often a coach will have played the sport for many years, whether at the top level or not, their experience seems to be the key factor. His or her level form what I’ve seen has no correlation to coaching success. The coach has accumulated knowledge via; trial and error, self-education, watching, courses, education days, studying, and personal exposure. Nothing beats experience because it allows you to draw upon what worked and what didn’t work!
Provide Pathways: A good coach is often able to provide opportunities. Such as local national and international exposure to events and clubs. These experiences can lead to success which can be very difficult to do when left to the player or team alone.
Bond: this is where success occurs. A coach that has bonded with his/her, player/players will often provide beyond the call of duty. It’s a little like a mother and child, the mother feels when her son/daughter is in distress, or happy etc. A good coach that has connected with his or her players will be able to feel when things are good or bad. This bond enables both to work together and pass through the tough times and more importantly enjoy the good times.

Buy Me
Buy Me

Time with world leading coaches

I spent three days with some of the world’s leading coaches last week. One thing was clear, the bond they had with their players. The sacrifices they have and are willing to do, to enable their players…
We often take coaches for granted but every top table tennis player in the world will tell you, “ if it wasn’t for my coach/ coaches, I would not be here today”.

I saw a small video on “table tennis daily” interviewing Michael Maze and it was clear how important his coach was to him.

Find a coach that drives you, you have a bond with, believes in you and provides you with opportunities. With this in mind your sky has no limit, and together you’ll be shooting for the stars.

I am always intersted in hearing your thoughts and views so please leave a comment below

Written by Eli Baraty

eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)                          
Coach Me Table Tennis 

Personal Table Tennis Development

Today I want to talk about personal table tennis develop. How and why you should develop your personal game.

The Hook

It all starts with some kind of trigger; you see a top table tennis player executing beautifully crafted shots, you hear the sound of the ball pinging from side to side, or you play a friend in their house and execute some crazy smashes. Once you’re hooked, it’s a sport that draws you in deep and due to its super complex variety of skills, few truly master the game.

Table Tennis Backhand
Table Tennis Focus

Tips to develop your game:

Join a club; joining a club has multiple benefits. Variety of players, possible coaching sessions and a coach. You can enjoy competing against and with your club teammates. You have access to a table and depending on the club it can be potentially accessible 24/7.

Sparring partners: try to have a list of players in and around your area. Hook up with them for regular training and match play. As you develop and tweak your game, the level or sparring partners must be monitored. Some may grow with you and others may not pay close attention to who’s helping you develop.

Coach: if you are fortunate enough to afford a coach, invest in one. A coach often finds ways of developing your game at an accelerated rate. A good coach will provide many opportunities for growth and development in your game.

Expand your horizon: 

Have a base (club, coach, sparring partners and training location) but often go out of your normal routine. This includes visiting other clubs, trying a new coach or having a side coach. You may find by expanding your base that your current base does not cater to your needs anymore. Never forget your original base and always pay respect but if you have outgrown or feel you can benefit more from somewhere else. Then I believe a good base will support your decision if you do decide to move on.

Monitor: A club, sparring partner and coach can only monitor your game so much. Unless you have a full-time coach who solely focuses on you, it’s up to you to monitor your game. How? Have a table tennis book. In this book, you should be writing down all your experiences and developments. This book is your guide towards achieving your goals.

The development comes by understanding your past experiences alongside knowing your current experiences which guide you to your chosen destiny.

Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)                          
Coach Me Table Tennis 
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Twitter: @elibaraty
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Table Tennis Tactics

A table tennis tactic which is thought of is actually irrelevant if you’re unable to execute it.

Having a tool is useless if you don’t know how to use it:

When developing players I always do my best to explain my methods. This gives them the ability to execute their leanings at particular game scenario’s. A tactic is easily spoken about but the player often won’t have the tools or know how to implement such instructions.

It’s important if you’re coaching someone in the corner for the first time. That you be honest with one another and discuss what the player is able and capable of. If you know the player well then stick to tactics that you both know.

W. Schlager Table Tennis World Champion
W. Schlager Table Tennis World Champion 2003

Finding a way:

Sometimes the tools and tactics may not work, that’s when you must step outside of your comfort zone and look for solutions. I live by many motto’s and philosophies and one I like “ if there’s a problem, then there’s a solution”. You may not have the best backhand in the world but you can still win a world or Olympic title. Both JP Gatien (World 1993) and Ryu Seung Min (Olympics 2004) did it, they found other ways to compromise their personal deficiency’s.

The game is evolving:

It’s getting harder and harder to win major titles or become a world class player if you have technical deficiencies. Today most top players have near complete games, what set’s them apart is the mindset and tactics used to find small gaps and wholes.

Developing tactics:

Tactics are where you can observe your opponents weakness and use it against them. For example, if you play a someone that struggles to flick with their forehand, would you serve short to the backhand? I once played a player who had an amazing backhand and forehand flick. We are all taught to serve short which is what I did and I was 2-0 down. My teammate came over and said, “Eli, serve long and occasionally short”. It was an easy game for me from then on winning 3-2. Tactics are often simple if understood and seen, the key is finding them. Tactics, as mentioned, can be easy but you won’t be able to execute them if your game is limited.

When you play games and train, try to reflect post-match. Analyse what worked and what didn’t and this will slowly open up your thought process of how to win matches using various tactics.

We can’t all be a genius but we can be smart with practice and time.

Written by Eli Baraty
eBaTT (Eli Baraty Academy of Table Tennis)                          
Coach Me Table Tennis 
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –Instagram: _elibaraty 
Twitter: @elibaraty
FB: Coach Me Table Tennis
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M:  07900401144